Political rivalry: Ezhavas for 30% Kerala population and Nairs, about 10–15%! Nairs have fared better than . A brief history on rise of Ezhava assertiveness. Ezhava (or Elava in Tamil rich old Malayalam) literally means people from Elam or Elanka or just Lanka, todays Sri Lanka. Ezhavas were. The group shares a common history from the pre-social reform era, [citation needed] Most theories of origin for the Ezhavas suggest a Sri.

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You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. The Ezhavas or Izhavas are the largest ethnic groups in Kerala, a south Indian state. They are also found amongst the Malayalee diaspora around the world.

The group shares a common history from the pre-social reform era, when caste was an integral part of the political, economic, legal, and social order across Kerala. There is a hypothesis that Ezhavas are descendants of Buddhists from Sri Lanka, or emissaries from the Magadhan empire who refused to convert to Hinduism.

This hypothesis has been supported by genetic studies which show that the allelic distribution of Ezhavas in a bi-dimensional plot correspondence analysis based on HLA-A, -B, and -C frequencies shows a rather strong East Eurasian element due to its proximity to the Mongol population in the same plot.

These men were sent, ostensibly, to set up Coconut farming in Kerala. Another version of the story says that the Sri Lankan King sent eight martial families to Kerala at the request of a Chera King to quell a civil war that erupted in Kerala against him. According to historian C. The Pandarams who perform priestly duties in Ezhava temples are considered to be successors of Buddhist monks.

However, he also says that it is very unlikely that the Ezhavas came from Sri Lanka and spread all over Kerala; instead they were the mainstream of Munda-Dravidian immigrants who left Tamil Nadu in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries to avoid persecution at the hands of their political enemies.

EZHAVA CASTE HISTORY | Sree Narayana GURU DEVAN-the greatest god

The poet Mahakavi Kumaranasan, whose poems or Khandakavya such as Nalini, Leela, Karuna and Chandala Bhikshuki extol Buddhist ideals lamented at times in his verses about the past glory of the Sinhalese, or the natives of Sri Lanka, whom he considered to be the forefathers of present day Ezhavas. This Buddhist tradition, and refusal to give it up, pushed the Ezhavas to an outcast role within the greater Brahminic society.

Nevertheless, this Buddhism tradition can still be seen in that the Ezhavas seem to have a uniquely greater interest in the moral, non-ritualistic, non-dogmatic aspects of the religion rather than the theological. While Ezhavas were once employed as ayurvedic physicians, warriors, Kalari trainers and traders, after the arrival of Namboothiri Brahmins and with the establishment of Vedic system, a number were discriminated against and subjugated to taking up lowly placed jobs like toddy tapping, selling and making arrack, palm wine, etc.

Some Ezhavas remained wealthy and some others became masters in various fields such ayurveda medicinemartial arts Kalaripayattu, Varma Kalari, etc. Folklore and written records indicate that the Ezhavas also identified themselves as a martial class. Ezhava folk songs, the Vadakkan Pattukal, composed about hundred years ago, described military exploits of Ezhava heroes.

Ezhavas served in the armed forces of all important kings of the region, such as Zamorins of Calicut, and the Kings of Travancore and Cochin. A lot many were trainers of Martial art Kalaripayattu. As per Hortus Malabaricus by J.

History of Ezhava

Heniger, Ezhavas otherwise called silgostree climbersalso bound to wars and arms. These people were also serve to teach Nairs in fencing school. Historg Panickers from an Ezhava tharavaad based at Kulathoor were trainers of famous Ettuveetil Pillamars, and their descendants have looked after the Chamundi Devi Kalari devatha temple at Thozhuvancode, Thiruvananthapuram.

Syrian Christians, allowed by the Hindu leaders to have their own private armies, recruited Ezhavas members due in part to this tradition. There were in fact several acclaimed Ezhava Ayurvedic scholars. The first Malayalam book published by the Dutch intitled Hortus Indicus Malabaricus, speaks in its preface about a Vaidyar doctor Karappuram Kadakkarappally Kollattu Veettil Itty Achuthan of present-day Alappuzha districta reputed vaidyar of the community as the main force behind the book and ezhaca is the one who edited the book to reach its present form.


Kesavan Vaidyar founded of Chandrika. Manavikraman Zamorin of Kozhikode in Padmanabhan Vaidyar, who hails from a well-known traditional Ayurvedic family. Their product kamilari is now famous among patients having liver diseases. Kuzhuppully and Pokkanchery families in Thrissur and Calicut respectively are traditional families of Ayurvedacharyans. Cholayil family is one of the most famous and respected Ezhava Ayurvedic families in Kerala.

Their beauty products like Cuticura and Medimix soap are very popular across India. Ezhava physicians were the chief Ayurvedic physicians of the Travancore Royal family. Venmanakkal family related to the Chavercode family was the first family to learn Ayurveda from the Pali language eznava addition to the Ayurvedic knowledge from Szhava.

Uracheril Gurukkal instructed Herman Gundert in the hiwtory of Sanskrit and Ayurveda, and Uppot kannan, who wrote interpretation of Yogamrutham Ayurvedic text in Sanskrit by Ashtavaidyans ezyava, were also acclaimed Ezhava Ayurvedic scholars.

Kelikkodan Ayyappan Vaidyar Kottakkal is one of the pioneer in the traditional Ayurvedic physician who is an eminent personality in Marma Chikithsa. Many from the community were Kottaram Vaidyan palace physicians of important kings in the region. Many Ezhava families were practitioners of Visha chikitsa toxicology for decades, treating poison from bites of snakes, scorpions, etc. Other traditional occupations of the community included coconut trading[citation needed], and making toddy, which was both widely consumed alcoholic drink, and used in Ayurvedic medicine.

In northern Kerala, Theyyam is a popular ritual dance. The headgear and other ornamental decorations are spectacular in sheer size and appearance. This particular dance form is also known as Kaaliyattam. In the epic Mahabharatha, Arjuna was the most valiant of the five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and was also a renowned singer and fzhava and is said to have propitiated goddess Bhadrakali by a devotional presentation. The various dance movements ezhavz closely similar to Kalarippayattu techniques.

The performers have their faces painted histtory and wear distinctive headgears.

The all night performance of the dance form is usually presented solo or in pairs. Before each song, the dancers explain the intricacies of the particular rhythm about to be employed and how this rhythm is translated into dance movements. Percussion instruments like the chenda, maddalam, talachenda and ilathalam cymbal form the musical accompaniment. Poorakkali is a folk dance hixtory among the Ezhavas of Malabar, usually performed in Bhagavathy temples as a ritual offering during the month of Meenam March — April.

Poorakkali requires specially trained and highly experienced dancers, trained in Kalaripayattu, hisrory system of physical exercise formerly in vogue in Kerala. Standing round a traditional lamp, the performers dance in eighteen different stages and rhythms, each phase called a niram. Parichamuttu kali is a martial folk-dance prevalent among the Ezhavas around the Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palghat and Malappuram districts.

It is also performed by Christians and some other Hindu communities. Its origins date back to when Kalaripayattu, the physical exercise of swordplay and defence, was in vogue in Kerala. The performers dance with swords and shields in their hands, following the movements of sword fight, leaping forward, stepping back and moving round, all the time striking with the swords and defending with shields.

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Makachuttu art is popular among Ezhavas in Thiruvananthapuram and Chirayinkizhu taluks and in Kilimanoor, Pazhayakunnummal and Thattathumala regions. In this, a group of eight performers, two each, twin around each other like serpents and rise up, battling with sticks. The techniques are repeated several times.

Sandalwood paste on the forehead, a red towel round the head, red silk around the waist and bells round the ankles form the costume. This is a combination of snake worship and Kalarippayattu. Literally, Aivarkali means the play of the five sets. This was a ritualistic art form performed in almost all important temples of Kerala.

Today it is found in central Kerala. This is also known as Pandavarkali, which means the play of the Pandavas, the five heroes of the Mahabharathaand is also performed Asari, Moosari, Karuvan, Thattan and Kallasari communities. This ritualistic dance is performed beneath a decorated pandal with a nilavilakku at its centre.

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The five or more performers with their leader called Kaliachan enter the performance area after a ritualistic bath, with sandalwood paste over their foreheads, dressed in white dhoti, and with a towel wrapped around their heads. Ezhavas followed Tharavadu, a system of joint family setup practised by some Malayalee communities. The family live together as a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children.

The oldest male member, known as the Karanavar or Mooppar, is the head of the household and managed the family estate.

Each Tharavadu has a unique name. As joint families grew and established independent settlements, the branches modified the names in a such way that the main Tharavadu names remained identifiable, while each Sakha or Thavazhi or Thay Vazhi meaning Through Mother had a distinct name.

The system of inheritance were matrilinear and were know as Marumakkathayam, which has now given way to Makkathayam or patrilinear inheritance.

Ezhavas do not normally use any distinct surnames. Panicker,Thandar is still being used by Ezhavas in south Kerala.

For Ezhavas, Billavas and other similar communities, these sacred forest could be found in any corner of the Tharavadu except the eastern side while other communities like the Nairs found them in the southwest corner of the Tharavadu. Kuruthi was a ritual performed in temples, especially Devi, Bhagavathy, Durga temples. Although this is found among many communities, it was very common with Ezhavas.

Animals are sacrificed as part of the ritual. In southern central Kerala, Kuruthy was performed before padayani and Mudiyet. In North Kerala, it was performed with Theyyam and Pana.

Sree Narayana Guru opposed the animal sacrifice, leading to the decline of histoey ritual. A thali kettu kalyanam or a mock marriage ceremony was prevalent among some rich Ezhavas or Pramanis.

During this ceremony, the girl was forced to marry a man strictly from the same community unlike other castes which followed this custom whose horoscopes matched.

Sree Narayana Guru opposed this strongly and took the initiative to simplify marriage customs and celebrations. When the Namboothiris arrived to Kerala, bringing Hinduism to the state and introducing a caste system, they formerly placed Ezhavas as Avarna.

The economic condition of the Ezhavas worsened and social taboos reduced them to a state of abject poverty. The Ezhava males were referred to as Chekka, and the females Pennu by upper castes in Kerala to indicate a position of inferiority.

Ezhavas, including women, were no longer allowed to cover their upper bodies and were also forbidden to wear certain types of jewelery and footwear.

Until histoy 18th ihstory, females of non-Brahmin class were allowed to wear only a single loin cloth girdled round the waist. In a revolt called the Chela kalapam or cloth revolt took place in Travancore and continued for several days, when the ladies of the Channar caste started to cover their breasts.

Sree Narayana Guru, an early 20th century social reformer, paved the way for improvement in the spiritual freedom and other social conditions of the Ezhava and related communities in Kerala and other parts of the country. Narayanan and his associates worked by first convincing the Ezhavas to give up the practice of untouchability with respect to castes below their caste and by second building a number of templates open to all castes.

Ina petition with more than 13, signature was submitted to the government asking for the recognition of the right of the Ezhavas to ezhavz the government service; the upper caste Hindus of the state prevailed upon the Maharajah not to concede the request. Ramaswamy Iyer, realizing the imminent danger, prompted the Maharajah to issue Temple Entry Proclamation, which abolished the ban on lower-caste people from entering Hindu temples in the state of Travancore.